Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to Caleb Swan, 27 October 1799

To Caleb Swan1

Newyork October 27th 1799

Sir:

The Secretary of the Inspector General is entitled to the pay and emoluments of a captain.2 The expression is general. It is not stated in the law whether the emoluments of a captain of cavalry, or those of a Captain of Infantry shall be the rule of allowance.3 In a case of this kind the construction must be governed by the particular situation of the officer, and the nature of the service in which he will be engaged. My secretary will require the use of an horse, as it will be necessary for him to accompany me in my operations. It is therefore perfectly reasonable that he should receive forage, and this appears to me to be the just construction of the law.

With great consn.

Caleb Swan Eqr.

Df, in the handwriting of Thomas Y. How, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1This letter was written in reply to Swan to H, October 26, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume). In this letter Swan questioned H’s charges for forage for Thomas Y. How. H had included these charges in his account with the United States Government. See H to Swan, October 14, 1799.

2Section 26 of “An Act for the better organizing of the Troops of the United States; and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 744 [March 3, 1799]) provided in part: “There shall be allowed to the inspector-general … a secretary to be appointed by himself, with the pay and emoluments of a captain.”

3Section 3 of the same act fixed the pay and emoluments of captains. This section reads: “A captain of cavalry, forty dollars per month, three rations per day, or an equivalent in money, and eight dollars per month for forage, when not furnished as aforesaid. A captain of artillery and infantry, forty dollars per month, and three rations per day, or an equivalent in money” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 750–51).

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